Judge won't dismiss charge against Pulse gunman's wife

ORLANDO, Fla. -- An obstruction charge will remain against the wife of a man who killed 49 people inside an Orlando nightclub last year, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Paul Byron denied a request from Noor Salman, 31, to dismiss one of the two criminal charges she faces. She is scheduled for trial in March on the obstruction charge and a count of aiding and abetting her husband, Omar Mateen.

The charges were filed in a federal district that covers Orlando, but she's accused of obstructing investigators during an interview in Fort Pierce, which is in the Southern District of Florida. Salman argued that the obstruction charge was filed in the wrong venue.

The judge said the offense with which Salman is charged had an impact on an investigation in the district in which the counts were filed.

"That is, the offense was continuing in nature, making venue proper in this district," Byron wrote.

Forty-nine patrons of the gay nightclub Pulse were killed and dozens more were injured after Mateen opened fire in the club in June 2016.

Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during a three-hour standoff. Salman has told the FBI that her husband had become radicalized in the year before the attack.

During the shooting, Mateen was communicating with Salman via text message. A law enforcement source said the couple exchanged, "I love you."

Law enforcement sources have long suspected she had a role in the attack, saying previously that Salman purchased ammunition with her husband, and they believe she drove with him as he cased the Pulse nightclub prior to the shooting. 

CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reported in June last year that Salman was interviewed multiple times by the FBI and was administered a polygraph test.

Salman told FBI investigators she tried to stop her husband from committing the attack.

CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues has reported that officials were concerned that she had knowledge of the attack but never reached out to law enforcement in an attempt to prevent it.

The FBI characterized the shooting as both a terrorist attack and a hate crime.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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